Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Day Seven: Goodbye Gozo - you are a special island.

Gozo: Day Seven, "The best trip of all - Comino."

Join walkers for perhaps the best trip of all, to Comino, an amazingly beautiful gem inhabited by only four people who are all related. A ten minute boat ride takes us to perfect turquoise waters. It's no wonder tourists flock to see the Blue Lagoon which is sandwiched between Comino, named after the cumin herb that once grew here, and neighbouring islet Cominotto. Once a refuge for hermits, fugitives and pirates, Comino is a paradise. In summer tanned bodies fill the beaches, but out of season Comino Hotel pulls down its shutters and Comino is left in the hands of  Salvu and his family.

Annalise in full flow!

Artists book of Comino
Passing the cemetery and British-built isolation hospital,we reach Santa Maria Tower, dating back to 1618 to protect the Comino Channel from acts of piracy against passenger and commercial vessels plying between Malta and Gozo.
It acted as Chateau d'If in the 2002 film Count of Monte Cristo, starring Richard Harris. Views are stunning from the top of the tower. This island, rich in garrigue ecology and geological marine erosion features, is designated as a bird sanctuary and is a haven for endemic flora. Annalise spots Maltese spurge, parasite called Dodder, Maltese shrubby kidney vetch, a soldier bug, seaside ox-eye daisy, silvery ragwort and best of all squirting cucumber!


Walking and making notes at the same time!

We visit Santa Maria Battery, built in 1715, complete with four of its original eight iron guns and constructed to resist an enemy fleet attempting to disembark their troops. On the way back to our boat, some of our party meet licensed bird ringers from Birdlife Malta, a project set up in 1991, to monitor migrating birds. Within a minute, they take vital measurements of an Icterine Warbler, White Throat, Whinchat and Sedge Warbler, put an aluminium ring from Malta on their leg and let them fly off.
Having a breather!
Saint Marino Tower, Comino
Meet up with artists and enjoy seeing their wonderful painting endeavours in an informal exhibition hosted by Roger on the fifth floor. Carol and Ian join us for our last meal together, where highlights of the week are talked about with merriment. As I have to leave at 4am I say a reluctant farewell to my Gozo companions and leave "this Fair land" enriched and blessed, determined to bring my husband back one day.
Goodbye Gozo, you are a special island.


Goodbye beautiful Gozo!